Sankofa City
Karl Baumann

"Sankofa City" is a community design project envisioning concepts and prototypes for the future of urban technology, such as augmented reality and self-driving cars. Based in Leimert Park in South LA, neighborhood residents and USC students work in teams to imagine alternative futures tied to local culture. The final video is based on 3 months of workshops and prototyping.

The project is part of a longer ongoing collaboration called "The Leimert Phone Company," which has worked to repurpose urban furniture (payphones, bus benches, etc.) and helped to establish the Leimert Park People St. pedestrian plaza.

More info on Sankofa City:
More info on the Leimert Phone Company:

--Project's Context--
Leimert Park is currently the site of heated discussions about gentrification and cultural displacement, as developers plan for the opening of a new subway stop there in 2020. The "Sankofa City" project complements other ongoing community planning groups by focusing on long-term strategies and imaginative solutions. By working directly with residents, this project creates alternative models for local innovation, cultural preservation, and sustainable urban development. "Sankofa City" is generating a cross-disciplinary methodology for future-facing participatory design by combining the disparate fields of urban planning, community art, education, social science research, and speculative design.

Recently, Karl Baumann and his collaborator Ben Caldwell received the Jaunt VR Advanced Project award to create an interactive VR film based on the Sankofa City workshop series.

View Karl Baumann's website